In 2020, the peloton introduced a new bike+ with a range of cool features, including one of my favorites, the auto-follow resistance.
In this article, I will explain everything there is to know about auto resistance and what are the benefits of using it.
What is peloton auto resistance?
The peloton auto-follow resistance is an option available only for bike plus users.
It works by automatically adjusting your resistance based on the instructor’s recommendation range, thanks to the new digital resistance.
This is a software-driven feature that gives you the option to sync your workouts and follow along with the recommended resistance level.
For example, if the peloton instructor says you should have your resistance between 50 to 60 for the next 3 minutes, you don’t have to do anything and the bike will change everything for you.
It’s like putting your bike on autopilot.
Please remember that you still have decent flexibility to adjust the resistance based on your preferences. If you find that the given range is too hard or too low, you can manually adjust the knob.
How does Peloton auto resistance works?
It follows the pre-designed target metrics. The resistance will be depended on the class type you take.
(You can find the target metrics in the class data.)
The structure of the class shows you the levels of resistance (in the form of a graph) that were used in the class from beginning to end.
Target metrics are only available for the on-demand classes.
What I love about this feature is you can follow the class, without worrying about adjusting the knob. This is the perfect option, especially for beginners, but it does have some limitations (more on that later).
Does peloton digital have target metrics?
In short, peloton digital doesn’t have target metrics because the auto-follow feature is only available for bike+ users with all-access membership.
The only metrics peloton digital has for cycling classes are the class description and plan.
For me, the peloton auto resistance is worth it. I can do the entire class without even touching the resistance knob.
The auto-follow option can be switched on and off at any given time, and it provides the slider bar with a range that can also be adjusted.
Peloton auto resistance vs manual resistance
With manual resistance, you have to constantly change the resistance knob by yourself. This is good for people who like to be in control and don’t like to follow the pre-made structure.
On the other hand, with the peloton auto resistance, you don’t have to change anything because the bike is doing all the work.
This is good for people who need extra motivation because the bike keeps them working within the set range.
I think that people who shy away from challenges will benefit from using the auto-follow feature because this will ensure they are at the right effort level.
For me, the peloton auto resistance is better. I can focus on the ride without having to think about adjustments. It improves the overall experience and allows me to stay fully immersed in my workout.
One of the most popular bikes that also have auto resistance features is NordicTrack.
How do you make Peloton resistance automatic?
Here you can see the full tutorial from Matt on how to set up the auto resistance on the peloton.
1. Select the class
The auto resistance is only available in on-demand classes that have been in the peloton library for longer than 24 hours and have the target metrics feature on.
This means you won’t be able to use it for the rides that have just been uploaded.
2. Turn on the auto-follow
You can turn on the auto-follow feature on your screen immediately after you start the class. The icon of auto-follow is in the bottom right corner just above your resistance metrics.
It looks like a little lock in the middle of the yellow circle.
3. Adjust your range
You can choose to adjust your resistance at any time, or you can leave the bike guiding you without moving a finger.
What I love about the peloton auto resistance is allows me to fully immerse myself in the class, without distracting myself.
Another cool thing you will notice is the interval times circulating on the icon that indicates how much time you have before there will be another chance in the resistance.
What I don’t like is that the peloton scenic rides don’t have auto resistance. However, some of the distance scenic rides do have auto cadence, where you can see the screen changes based on your cadence.
Also, the live classes don’t have this feature. For the class to have this option it needs to have the target metric graph, which is usually added to each peloton ride 24 hours after the class was live.
Benefits I’ve experienced with Peloton auto resistance
Now let’s talk about the benefits that come from using the peloton auto-follow feature.
1. Save me time
Letting the peloton set up the resistance automatically saves me a lot of time.
No need to adjust the resistance manually, especially for the rides like Intervals and climbs where you have to change resistance frequently.
2. Reduce distraction
Not having to reach down and mess around with the manual resistance helps me stay focused on the rides and prevent unnecessary distractions.
This is perfect when I want to focus on the ride and don’t worry about the knob.
3. Extra challenge
Riding in already-established resistance provides me with the opportunity to challenge and motivate myself.
This is good for people who need extra motivation and don’t usually increase their resistance as they should.
I believe that exercise is meant to be slightly uncomfortable and I know many people who will do everything they can to make every ride an easy ride.
Using the auto-follow pushes you out of your comfort zone.
However, as mentioned before, there are also some limitations of the auto-follow feature.
Peloton auto resistance disadvantages
Letting a peloton bike control resistance automatically during the rides also comes with a downside. Here are some of the disadvantages of using the peloton auto-follow feature.
1. Not useful for more advanced riders
People who are already experienced and trained may find this feature unnecessary because the overall class intensity may be too easy.
2. Too hard for starters
People who just start their journey with the peloton and never trained before may find it too difficult to match their effort level with the auto-follow.
3. You can experience lagtime
Sometimes this feature does cause accuracy problems and may not match what the instructor says.
If you’re the kind of person who cannot stand the lagging feedback, you may want to switch to manual resistance.
As you can see, some people say the feature is useless, whereas others say it’s a game-changer. I personally love to use it on the days when I just want to have a nice experience and immerse myself in the class.
However, on the days I feel like I want to sweat hard and go for my PR, I typically do it with manual resistance.